Japanese scientists have used a 94-channel infrared spectroscopy system to illustrate the dynamic, complex, and global neuronal cross-talk commencing across infant development. ... Read more »
Homae, F., Watanabe, H., Otobe, T., Nakano, T., Go, T., Konishi, Y., & Taga, G. (2010) Development of Global Cortical Networks in Early Infancy. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(14), 4877-4882. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5618-09.2010
Diet products are common in most pharmacies. Consumer demand is one factor, with obesity proliferating to the point where the majority of Canadian adults are now overweight or obese. Compounded with the reality that there are no easy solutions when it comes to weight loss, the weight loss industry is working overtime developing new products. [...]... Read more »
Phung, O., Baker, W., Matthews, L., Lanosa, M., Thorne, A., & Coleman, C. (2009) Effect of green tea catechins with or without caffeine on anthropometric measures: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(1), 73-81. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28157
A recent study reports that grizzly bears are encroaching on polar bear habitat in northern Manitoba. That could be a bad thing—or it could just be a thing.
Polar bears and grizzly bears (also known as brown bears) have met before. In fact, they’re cousins. The brown bear came first. At some point (hundreds of thousands [...]... Read more »
Lindqvist, C., Schuster, S., Sun, Y., Talbot, S., Qi, J., Ratan, A., Tomsho, L., Kasson, L., Zeyl, E., Aars, J.... (2010) Complete mitochondrial genome of a Pleistocene jawbone unveils the origin of polar bear. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(11), 5053-5057. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914266107
Rockwell, Robert, Linda Gormezano, and Daryll Hedman. (2008) Grizzly Bears, Ursus arctos, in Wapusk National Park, Northeastern Manitoba. Canadian Field Naturalist, 323-326. info:/
The DNA sensor AIM2 is crucial for host defence against cytosolic pathogens and DNA viruses; it not only senses these intracellular intruders but also promotes inflammatory mechanisms as part of our innate immune system.
In a research double whammy, Nature Immunology has published two studies online—Rathinam et al. and Fernandes-Alnemri et al.—that both discuss how the AIM2 inflammasome [...]... Read more »
Rathinam, V., Jiang, Z., Waggoner, S., Sharma, S., Cole, L., Waggoner, L., Vanaja, S., Monks, B., Ganesan, S., Latz, E.... (2010) The AIM2 inflammasome is essential for host defense against cytosolic bacteria and DNA viruses. Nature Immunology. DOI: 10.1038/ni.1864
Fernandes-Alnemri, T., Yu, J., Juliana, C., Solorzano, L., Kang, S., Wu, J., Datta, P., McCormick, M., Huang, L., McDermott, E.... (2010) The AIM2 inflammasome is critical for innate immunity to Francisella tularensis. Nature Immunology. DOI: 10.1038/ni.1859
The ability to find food is one of the most important behaviours an animal can undertake, and one of the best advantages an animal can have is to remember where food can commonly be found. Laboratory studies have shown that fish are able to use learning-based strategies to locate food with most studies focusing on the aquatic equivalent of the lab rat - the goldfish. ... Read more »
Bajer, P., Lim, H., Travaline, M., Miller, B., & Sorensen, P. (2010) Cognitive aspects of food searching behavior in free-ranging wild Common Carp. Environmental Biology of Fishes. DOI: 10.1007/s10641-010-9643-8
Since a few weeks some PhD students and postdocs have been organising astro-ph coffee meetings three times a week, where the youngsters in the department can sit together and chat about recent papers. The advantage of having these meetings for only students and postdocs is that we can admit to our utter ignorance about stuff [...]... Read more »
Kloppenborg, B., Stencel, R., Monnier, J., Schaefer, G., Zhao, M., Baron, F., McAlister, H., ten Brummelaar, T., Che, X., Farrington, C.... (2010) Infrared images of the transiting disk in the ε Aurigae system. Nature, 464(7290), 870-872. DOI: 10.1038/nature08968
D. W. Hoard, S. B. Howell, & R. E. Stencel. (2010) Taming the Invisible Monster: System Parameter Constraints for Epsilon Aurigae from the Far-Ultraviolet to the Mid-Infrared. ApJ accepted. arXiv: 1003.3694v1
In an unusual study with potentially revolutionary implications, Austrian biologists Wilkinson et al show evidence of Social learning in a non-social reptile.Social learning means learning to do something by observing others doing it, rather than by doing it yourself. Many sociable animal species, including mammals, birds and even insects, have shown the ability to learn by observing others doing things. It's often seen as a distinct form of cognition, separate to "normal" learning, which evolve........ Read more »
Wilkinson, A., Kuenstner, K., Mueller, J., & Huber, L. (2010) Social learning in a non-social reptile (Geochelone carbonaria). Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0092
Grazing livestock may lower nitrous oxide emissions
... Read more »
Wolf, B. et al. (2010) Grazing-induced reduction of natural nitrous oxide release from continental steppe. Nature, 464(7290), 881-884. DOI: 10.1038/nature08931
Daniel Sulmasy is used to wearing many different figurative outfits, from the white coat he wears as a physician at the University of Chicago Medical Center to the brown robe he dons after work as a Franciscan friar. Now, Sulmasy will have another important role in his wardrobe as a member of President Obama’s Commission [...]... Read more »
Sulmasy, D. (2006) Spiritual Issues in the Care of Dying Patients: " . . . It's Okay Between Me and God". JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 296(11), 1385-1392. DOI: 10.1001/jama.296.11.1385
Sulmasy, D. (2007) Within You / Without You: Biotechnology, Ontology, and Ethics. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 23(S1), 69-72. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-007-0326-x
When I started this month of posts on fitness and nutrition, I promised that I’d be using myself as a bit of a guinea pig, recording all my food and beverage intake, as well as my exercise. You can see my record here, but the MyFitnessPal site doesn’t do a very good job of summing [...]... Read more »
Hsieh, S., Yoshinaga, H., & Muto, T. (2003) Waist-to-height ratio, a simple and practical index for assessing central fat distribution and metabolic risk in Japanese men and women. International Journal of Obesity, 27(5), 610-616. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802259
The ability of humans to develop and enforce social norms has been called one of the distinguishing characteristics of our species. Social norms can be loosely defined as behavioral standards that are enforced by third-party social interventions. For example, person A violates person B in some way. Person C is not [...]... Read more »
Raihani, N., Grutter, A., & Bshary, R. (2010) Punishers Benefit From Third-Party Punishment in Fish. Science, 327(5962), 171-171. DOI: 10.1126/science.1183068
By strange coincidence this morning I was listening in to the Celgene R&D Day presentations including an update on their plans for their iMiD therapies thalidomide (Thalomid) and lenalidomide (Revlimid), while reading a couple of interesting papers about Millennium-Takeda's bortezomib...... Read more »
Ladetto, M., Pagliano, G., Ferrero, S., Cavallo, F., Drandi, D., Santo, L., Crippa, C., De Rosa, L., Pregno, P., Grasso, M.... (2010) Major Tumor Shrinking and Persistent Molecular Remissions After Consolidation With Bortezomib, Thalidomide, and Dexamethasone in Patients With Autografted Myeloma. Journal of Clinical Oncology. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.7172
Mateos, M., Richardson, P., Schlag, R., Khuageva, N., Dimopoulos, M., Shpilberg, O., Kropff, M., Spicka, I., Petrucci, M., Palumbo, A.... (2010) Bortezomib Plus Melphalan and Prednisone Compared With Melphalan and Prednisone in Previously Untreated Multiple Myeloma: Updated Follow-Up and Impact of Subsequent Therapy in the Phase III VISTA Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.26.0638
tags: evolutionary biology, behavioral ecology, molecular ecology, personality, novelty seeking, exploratory behavior, dopamine receptor, dopamine receptor D4 gene, DRD4 gene polymorphism, ornithology, birds, Great Tit, Parus major, bpr3.org/?p=52,peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper
Bold or cautious? Individuals with a particular gene variant are very curious --
but only in some populations.
Image: Henk Dikkers.
Research shows that personality variations are heritable in hum........ Read more »
KORSTEN, P., MUELLER, J., HERMANNSTÄDTER, C., BOUWMAN, K., DINGEMANSE, N., DRENT, P., LIEDVOGEL, M., MATTHYSEN, E., van OERS, K., van OVERVELD, T.... (2010) Association between DRD4 gene polymorphism and personality variation in great tits: a test across four wild populations. Molecular Ecology, 19(4), 832-843. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04518.x
A diagram of how the skeletons of Australopithecus sediba came to be preserved in the Malapa cave deposit. From Dirks et al, 2010.
A little less than two million years ago, in what is now South Africa, a torrential downpour washed the bodies of two humans into the deep recesses of a cave. Just how their remains came to be in the cave in the first place is a mystery. Perhaps they fell in through the gaping hole in the cave roof just as hyenas, saber-toothed cats, horses, and other animals h........ Read more »
Lee R. Berger, Darryl J. de Ruiter, Steven E. Churchill, Peter Schmid, Kristian J. Carlson, Paul H. G. M. Dirks, Job M. Kibii1. (2010) Australopithecus sediba: A New Species of Homo-Like Australopith from South Africa. Science, 195-204. info:/10.1126/science.1184944
Paul H. G. M. Dirks, Job M. Kibii, Brian F. Kuhn, Christine Steininger,, Steven E. Churchill, Jan D. Kramers, Robyn Pickering, Daniel L. Farber,, & Anne-Sophie Mériaux, Andy I. R. Herries, Geoffrey C. P. King, Lee R. Berger. (2010) Geological Setting and Age of Australopithecus sediba from Southern Africa. Science, 205-208. info:/10.1126/science.1184950
This morning I posted about how taxonomy underlies all else in biology, with respect to manta rays. As if to make my point, an article is just out in Nature suggesting that the genus Drosophila - better known as fruit flies - and may be revised such that one of science's best known model species - Drosophila melanogaster - gets kicked out of its genus! The split hasn't taken place just yet, ... Read more »
Manta rays (Manta birostris) surely vie for the title most spectacular among the large animals in the ocean. Not only do they grow to enormous sizes, but they are placid, graceful, and generally unafraid of humans, which means we can get close to them in the water and really appreciate how incredible they are, up nice and personal. I always thought that mantas were a one-of-a-kind species - the... Read more »
Marhsall, Andrea D., Compagno, Leonard J.V., & Bennett, Michael B. (2009) Redescription of the genus Manta with resurrection of Manta alfredi (Krefft, 1868) (Chondrichthyes; Myliobatoidei; Mobulidae). Zootaxa, 1-28. info:/
Eat your fruits and vegetables.
Hasn't that been a constant refrain over the years from public health authorities? Certainly, I have. The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables have been widely touted, and seemingly with good reason. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, it is said, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. In the case of the latter, it as claimed that potential decreases in the risks of some cancers could be as high as 50% a day. As a result, the National Cancer........ Read more »
Boffetta, P., Couto, E., Wichmann, J., Ferrari, P., Trichopoulos, D., Bueno-de-Mesquita, H., van Duijnhoven, F., Buchner, F., Key, T., Boeing, H.... (2010) Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Overall Cancer Risk in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djq072
Willett, W. (2010) Fruits, Vegetables, and Cancer Prevention: Turmoil in the Produce Section. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djq098
In an article published earlier this week in Nature, researchers revealed the complete genome of the zebra finch and focused on the intricacies of their vocal communication. The zebra finch, the males of which are known to learn and repeat the same song generation after generation, show 800 active genes involved in vocalization. One group [...]
... Read more »
For reptiles and other small vertebrates inhabiting the Coober Pedy opal fields of South Australia, daily life means having to watch where you step (or slither).
Approximately 2 million abandoned opal mine shafts, the legacy of exploratory drilling over the last 30 years, sit uncapped, ready to entrap the unknowing victim.... Read more »
Reece D. Pedler. (2010) The impacts of abandoned mining shafts: Fauna entrapment in opal prospecting shafts at Coober Pedy, South Australia. Ecological Management . info:/10.1111/j.1442-8903.2010.00511.x
An interesting article has been published in the latest New England journal describing how the addition of a cisplatin to gemcitabine improved survival by two months in biliary tract cancer. Currently, there is no standard treatment for this rare disease,...... Read more »
Valle, J., Wasan, H., Palmer, D., Cunningham, D., Anthoney, A., Maraveyas, A., Madhusudan, S., Iveson, T., Hughes, S., Pereira, S.... (2010) Cisplatin plus Gemcitabine versus Gemcitabine for Biliary Tract Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(14), 1273-1281. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0908721
West, J., Wood, H., Logan, R., Quinn, M., & Aithal, G. (2006) Trends in the incidence of primary liver and biliary tract cancers in England and Wales 1971–2001. British Journal of Cancer, 94(11), 1751-1758. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603127
El-Serag HB, Engels EA, Landgren O, Chiao E, Henderson L, Amaratunge HC, & Giordano TP. (2009) Risk of hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancers after hepatitis C virus infection: A population-based study of U.S. veterans. Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.), 49(1), 116-23. PMID: 19085911
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